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 FAQs A-Fib Drug Therapy: Natural Blood Thinners

Drug Therapies for Atrial Fibrillation, A-Fib, Afib

14. “Are natural blood thinners for blood clot treatment as good as prescription blood thinners like warfarin?”

There are a number of foods and supplements that are known to thin the blood. These include foods with high amounts of aspirin-like substances called salicylates, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E supplements, and foods with natural antibiotic properties.

Healthy adults can greatly reduce the risk of blood clots and cardiovascular disease by modifying their lifestyle and adding nutritional supplements proven to support cardiovascular health. But this site is not recommending or advising that people switch from prescription anticoagulants to natural blood thinners.

No Studies that ‘Natural’ is as Effective as Warfarin

As of yet, there aren’t any blind studies which demonstrate any natural alternative (or combination) is as effective against stroke as warfarin (Coumadin) or the new NOACs.

Certain foods and supplements may be “natural” and thin the blood, but there’s little research on their effectiveness to prevent clots in those at high-risk for stroke, such as A-Fib patients.

What’s more, there isn’t a way to track their effectiveness in the same way doctors can monitor the action of warfarin through routine blood tests.

If considering a switch to natural blood thinners, do not stop taking your anticoagulation medication. Talk to your doctor first.

Patients with Lone Atrial Fibrillation

Natural blood thinners may be considered for patients with “lone” Atrial Fibrillation, that is, patients who have had A-Fib occur only once or twice, are young, and have an otherwise healthy heart (normal size, no enlarged chambers or leaky valves, not otherwise prone to blood clots or other heart risk factors like diabetes, etc.). These low-risk patients may be candidates for natural alternatives to warfarin (Coumadin). (Historically, these patients may have been put on aspirin.)

If considering a switch to natural blood thinners, do not stop taking your anticoagulation medication. Talk to your doctor first. (But realize that your doctor isn’t likely to tell you to stop taking your warfarin or NOAC prescription.)

Seek Holistic-Minded Practitioners

Instead, you may want to seek out doctors who are holistically-minded and have knowledge of natural medicines; for example, a doctor who practices complementary or integrative medicine or a naturopathic physician. They can partner with you to pursue natural alternatives to prescription medicines. For a listing of such doctors in your area, go to http://www.ACAM.org.

For example, on his website, the Integrative Cardiologist and anti-aging specialist Dr. Stephen Sinatra discusses combating blood clots with this regimen of natural blood thinners:

•  Fish oil (2–3 grams daily)
•  Garlic (1–2 grams daily in capsule form)
•  Nattokinase (100 mg daily)
•  Vitamin E as mixed tocopherols (200–300 IU daily)
•  Bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple (600 mg daily)

For additional advice on natural ways to prevent blood clots, visit www.drsinatra.com.

Talk to Your Doctor: Supplements Can Interfere with Coagulation

Always talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your treatment plan. Some ‘natural’ supplements may interact with your prescription meds (when taken alone or in combination) or interfere with coagulation and increase your bleeding risk.

References for this article

Return to FAQ Drug Therapies

Last updated: Wednesday, June 14, 2017

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